Sunday, August 7, 2011

Static vs Dynamic Technologies Concept Map

Static Technologies

Websites:  While websites can provide an abundance of information, they are merely a raw resource does not really aide in building an individual’s knowledge and understanding. 
PowerPoints:  As with websites, PowerPoint presentations only offer a one-way supply of information.  The learner must pick and choose those things which he or she believes beneficial to the learning process.
Online Videos:   While there is a live instructor talking to the student, it is still just a one-way supply of information similar to a traditional lecture class.  Students are not in the position to ask questions or make comments which can enhance their knowledge or understanding.

Email:   While there is a degree of interactivity between Email communications, it is seldom immediately responsive to the needs of the student and is not productive in terms of communicating.
Social Networking:   While it is one of the newer technologies and, similar to email, social networks can be used for communicating, it is designed more to make the initial contact.  All statuses and comments lack the immediate responsiveness of other technologies.
Discussion Boards/Blogs:  While there can be comments and responses regarding blogs and discussion boards, they are more designed to express opinions and ideas as opposed to carrying on an interactive conversation in order to communicate.

Wikis:  Wikis have some collaborative aspects in that a group of individuals are all posting and commenting on the same wiki but, they are not immediate and do not hold the accountability aspects of some of the other collaboration technologies.
Chat:  Chat is much more interactive and real time yet, it often hard to communicate ideas through merely typing.  It is awfully hard to collaborate and share without visual and graphical representations.
Teleconferencing:  This older type of technology is definitely immediate and real time, yet once again, it lacks sharing any visual or graphics interactivity

Dynamic Technologies

Networked Interactive Whiteboards:  NIWB’s allow teachers to instruct and communicate with students just as they are in the classroom in front of a marker board.  The Interactive Whiteboard also has immediate access to the Internet and can share visuals such as maps, graphics, pictures, and text.
Virtual Simulations:  Virtual Simulations provide demonstrations through the use of avatars and computer graphics that afford students the ability to see interactive demonstrations, experiments, and simulated instruction and teaching.
Live Interactive Video Streamed Classes:  The use of closed circuit cameras and microphones afford student real time distant learning classrooms in which students and real life instructors can interact with one another

Skype:  Skype video technologies allow students to interact face to face with instructors and other students.  Students can, not only share thoughts and ideas, but give presentations and demonstrations as well.
Chat:  While chat is considered a static technology when it comes to collaboration, it is very dynamic when it is simply used to communicating with fellow students and instructors.  The communication is immediate and in real time.  It can be extremely effective.
Virtual Meeting Areas:  Using individual, personal avatars and computer generated graphics and animations students can sit virtually in a conference room or classroom and communicate with fellow students and teachers.  This new technology allows communication to immediate and real time.

Skype:  Not only does Skype serve as communication tool, it can also serve in a video conferencing format in which students can all work together and share ideas, information, presentations, and ask questions.
Interactive Games:  Interactive games allow students to work collaboratively in attaining goals and objectives in a competitive or non-competitive environment.  Student can work together to solve complex problems in a game environment.
 Virtual Meeting Areas:  As well as communicating with one another, virtual meeting areas can afford students the unique experience of working together using computer animated figures and avatars in order to work collaboratively together of projects and assignments

Friday, July 29, 2011

Distance Education Technology Graphic Organizer

Siemens (2008) stated in his paper that his focus was, "the intent of exploring how many of the most significant changes within society today might influence of change the role of educators and, as a consequence, the role of instructional designers."  The graphic organizer above states many of the technologies that have changed the distance education environment and enabled it to become more interactive and effective to the point that it is now considered in many circles to be as effective the traditional brick and mortar classrooms.  The Internet has allowed online learning to take tremendous steps in the advancement of distance learning.  Siemens (2008) says in this regard that, "The popularization of the World Wide Web as a medium for commerce, communication, information sharing, and education has raised the profile of networks as a means of human organization. All of the elements above are a product of the World Wide Web.  

There is a crossover of many of the elements listed above that could fall under several categories, especially in the area communication and collaboration.  It could be argued that many of the technologies under collaboration could very well be found under communication and vice-versa.  I felt the content area could very broad when incorporating distance learning.  It would seem that anything that could scanned, uploaded, downloading, or posted to the Internet could be considered "Content".  So graphics, pictures, magazine articles, videos, etc. could all be considered content in that realm.  

In reflecting on the content of my graphic organizer, the three areas of content, collaboration, and communication are three central components of distance learning.  If there is a deficiency in any of these three areas then distance learning is not nearly as effective.  Content drives the distance learning process and, just as traditional education, serves as the foundation for the learning process.  There is a special emphasis that is placed on communication due to the fact that it must be done through virtual channels as opposed to face to face in traditional learning settings.  Collaboration is probably the latest innovation and is now feasible due to technologies such as Skype, video-conferencing, social networking, and wikis.  Overall, it is the technologies that have fallen into these three categories that have allowed for distance education to become as effective as it is today.

Siemans, G. (2008, January). Learning and knowing in networks: Changing roles for educators and designers. ITForum

Sunday, July 17, 2011

My Presentation Storyboard

Motivating the Adult Learner

I.    Adults in Education
      A.  Who is Defined as a Adult Student
      B.  Adult Student Statistics

II.  Characteristics of Adult Learners
      A,  Lifestyles
      B.  Income
      C.  Education Level
      D.  Other Demographics

III. Adult Learning Styles
      A.  How do They Learn
      B.  Best Learning Environment
      C.  Teacher-Adult Student Relationship

IV. What Adult Learners Want to Learn
      A.  To Further Careers
      B.  Improve Income
      C.  Quality of Life

V.  Challenges for the Adult Learner
      A.  Job
      B.  Family
      C.  Physical/Health Issues

VI. Teaching Strategies for the Adult Learner
      A.  Interaction with Instructor
      B.  Interaction with Students
      C.  Projects, Assignments, and Lessons
      D.  Assessing the Adul tLearner

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Assessing Collaborative Efforts

Assessing students an online collaborative learning group is a difficult task.  It is difficult enough assessing a traditional learning group in a “brick and mortar” classroom.  In a virtual classroom you do not have the luxury of see the group interact and notice who is and isn’t participating in the group and to what degree.  I think in order to truly get a valid assessment of the group, an educator must become more involved in the group itself by sometimes acting as an initial facilitator by getting the group together for their initial visit then handing it off.  This is especially true if the group is using technology such as Skype or some visual medium that not everyone is familiar with.  Once the group is comfortable together then they will have a better chance of being productive. 
In terms of assessment, Seimens (2008) provide three models for assessing an online collaborative group.  They are students assess their peers, students receive feedback from online communities, and educators assess based on student contributions.  All three of these have the potential to provide adequate assessment.  I do feel that student and community assessments can tend to be a little subjective just because of a lack of criteria.  One solution might be to provide each group member a rubric that tells of the expectations each member.  That might allow the members to be more informed in their assessments.  Assessing students on contributions could also be effective.  However, while an educator can get a good idea of student participation, how well can the educator assess the quality of work completed? 
If an individual desires to not be a part of a collaborative leaning group, the educator should encourage him to do so but at the same time understand that there is probably some anxiety of participation in an online group.  Some anxiety might be due to the fact that group learning goes against the way he has learned in the past.  Most students are raised to learn individually.  Siemens (2008) states that “students are evaluated as an individual and that their individual contributions to the class are graded and these contributions are being used as a premise for schools t hat they will eventually enter into.”  Students are most comfortable when they have total control over their academic performance.  Collaborative learning groups tend to put this control at risk thus, impacting their academic performance.  Educators, especially those that teach online must recognize and be sensitive to this.
So what should be the most effective way to assess online collaborative learning groups?  According to Palloff and Pratt (2005), there are six elements that can contribute to an effective online learning community.  First there is people.  Despite the virtual environment, there must be physical presence by both instructor and student.  This can be done through a visual technology such as Skype or it may be as simple as a phone call and a human voice to connect to.  Second is a shared purpose.  This is definitely enhanced with communication.  Individuals in the group should be encouraged to all share interests, ideas, information, and resources in order to make the group effective.  Third are guidelines.  This is important to set expectations and rules for deadlines and due dates in insure that all participate.  Fourth is technology.  The better and interactive the vehicle for course delivery is, the better the collaboration.  Fifth is collaborative learning.  The interaction among student ultimately determines the meaning and creation of knowledge that dictates the success of the group.   Finally, the sixth one is reflective practice.  This helps determine what was learned and was it understood among all the group members.    
Palloff & Pratt (2005). Collaborating online: Learning together in community. San Francisco, CA: Josey-Bass.
Siemens, G. (2008). Assessment of collaborative learning. Vodocast. Laureate Education, Inc. Retrieved from:
Siemens, G. (2008). Learning Communities. Vodocast. Laureate Education, Inc.  Retrieved from:

Thursday, June 30, 2011


In looking at Distance Learning, I feel that the central element to its growth, effectiveness, and legitimacy is due to the communication tools that we now have that aid in the implementation of distance learning classes.  Siemens (2008) hit is on the head when he stated that one of the items that is providing a "Growing Acceptance of Distance Education is Fueled by the Practical Experience with New (communication) tools."  Skype, video-conferencing, chat, blogs, and wikis are just a few of the tools out there that help distant educators and students overcome the obstacles and challenges of not being educated in a traditional classroom.  These tools seem to be bridging the gap of not having a physical professor or instructor in a classroom that is providing immediate feedback to every question.  While we are still not quite there in terms of interactivity, there have definitely been advances that have brought us to the point where we are much more comfortable with learning from a distance.

I feel there is another factor that has benefited learning, teaching, and instructing in a distant education environment.  That is the rise of social networking.  Today, people are much more at ease in communicating online.  From Facebook to Twitter to Online Dating, people are accepting the idea of building relationships and communicating online.  This type of interaction is no longer considered out of reach or overly expensive or difficult to use.  It is now considered a viable communication medium that is quickly becoming on the same level with making traditional telephone calls and email.


Siemens, G. (2008). Assessment of collaborative learning. Vodocast. Laureate Education, Inc.